Entertainment Weekly Retracts the Libel, but Too Late

That esteemed publication has pulled their original post. In the eyes of the law, it does not matter: Libel attached at the moment of publication, albeit later retractions may have a bearing on the amount of damages.

I know that in certain cases, attempts to make the victim right cannot be used as evidence of admission of negligence, but I do not know if that applies in libel suits.

However, even if an immediate retraction limited the real dollar value of the damage to our reputations, in a case like the one here, where (A) the publication was made negligently or maliciously, and later admitted to be negligent, and (B) where the libelist (1) stated that the plaintiff (well, I am getting ahead of myself — no papers have been filed — let us call him the victim) was involved in a crime involving moral turpitude, or a felony; or (2) exposes a victim to ridicule; or (3) reflects adversely on the victim’s character, morality, integrity; or (4) impairs the victim’s ability to earn a living; or (5) suggests that the victim suffers from a physical or mental defect that would cause others to avoid him, then damages are presumed.

Three of those clearly are in evidence in this case. If we consider being a racist misogynist to be a physical or mental defect, four. If discrimination is a crime in the venue of the res, and a hate crime, then it clearly involves moral turpitude, and so we have at one go all five presumptive forms of libel at one go. Well done, gentlemen. Next time hire an editor and do your due diligence before you publish.

It has been many years since I practiced law, and this was never my field anyway, but I seem to recall from Torts 101 that a simple retraction is insufficient if the damages are presumptive. A law student who did not snooze in lecture would be able to inform you better than I.

As one commenter over at Vox Populi remarked aptly:

I feel like I’ve just read a retarded edition of Pravda that somehow slipped through a hole in the fabric of reality from the Harrison Bergeron universe.

For the record, Exhibit A:

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Hugo Award nominations fall victim to misogynistic, racist voting campaign

Posted April 6 2015 — 4:55 PM EDT
The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color. Membership only costs $40, and allows members to vote for the 2016 nominations as well as the 2015 nominations, which were just released.
Sad Puppies broadcast their selection on Feb. 1, writing: “If you agree with our slate below—and we suspect you might—this is YOUR chance to make sure YOUR voice is heard.” Brad Torgerson, who runs Sad Puppies along with Larry Correia, complains that the Hugo Awards have lately skewed toward “literary” works, as opposed to “entertainment.”
Torgerson also writes that he disagrees with Hugos being awarded for affirmative action-like purposes, as many women and writers of color went home with awards in 2014: ”Likewise, we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.”
The other lobbying group, Rabid Puppies, is run by Theodore Beale (who goes by the name Vox Day). As The Telegraph reports, “Members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have called for Beale’s exclusion from the group after he has written against women’s suffrage and posted racist views towards black writer NK Jemisin.”
Fortunately, some sane voters allowed well-deserving writers to pull through. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword and Listen was nominated for Dramatic Presentation, and Annie Bellet’s Goodnight Stars was nominated, despite having a non-white, female protagonist.
Plenty of members of the science fiction community have voiced their disgust with both sects of “Puppies.” Writer Philip Sandifer wrote on his blog Sunday, “The Hugo Awards have just been successfully hijacked by neofascists.” Sandifer’s post, which is worth reading in full, addresses what this disaster means for the sci-fi world:
To be frank, it means that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom does not have any legitimacy right now. Period. A community that can be this effectively controlled by someone who thinks black people are subhuman and who has called for acid attacks on feminists is not one whose awards have any sort of cultural validity. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to functional communities. And the fact that it has just happened to the oldest and most venerable award in the sci-fi/fantasy community makes it unambiguously clear that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom is not fit for purpose.
As writer Joe Abercrombie put it:
The Hugo Awards winners will be announced on Aug. 22 in Washington.